Barnsley 2 Hull 0: Bruce's promotion party firmly on hold as Tykes boost survival hopes

By Peter Higgs


Steve Bruce has a week to revive his floundering promotion hopefuls as Hull blew another chance to clinch a place in the Premier League.

At the end of a tense afternoon when Barnsley lifted themselves out of the bottom three only to drop back in when Peterborough won, the toothless Tigers were left with a final-day, final opportunity to claim automatic promotion.

But Bruce’s men are  staggering towards the  finish line a point above Watford in second place in the table, having wasted two opportunities — at home to Bristol City and in this failure at Barnsley — to end their agony.

Victory over champions Cardiff at the KC Stadium on Saturday will take Bruce’s men up among the big boys, but they will have to show a big improvement.

Roaring success: Barnsley players mob Chris O'Grady (right) after his priceless second sealed the three points

Roaring success: Barnsley players mob Chris O'Grady (right) after his priceless second sealed the three points

Roaring success: Barnsley players mob Chris O'Grady (right) after his priceless second sealed the three points

Roaring success: Barnsley players mob Chris O'Grady (right) after his priceless second sealed the three points

Match facts

Barnsley: Steele, Cranie, Wiseman, Kennedy, Etuhu, Mellis (Scotland 68), O'Brien, Perkins, Noble-Lazarus, O'Grady, Dagnall (McNulty 79). Subs not used: Alnwick, Harewood, Jones, Cywka, Rose.

Booked: Etuhu.

Goals: Mellis 4, O'Grady 50.

Hull: Stockdale, McShane, Faye, Chester, Brady, Elmohamady, Evans (Rosenior 79), Meyler, Quinn, Boyd (Simpson 46), Fryatt (Proschwitz 61). Subs not used: Jakupovic, Hobbs, Cairney, Fathi.

Referee: Chris Foy.

Attendance: 15,744.

Latest Championship results, fixtures and table

Bruce was putting on a brave face last night but, like Hull’s nervous followers, he must be worried.
‘We’re hugely disappointed in the way we’ve played,’ he said. ‘We’ve deserved nothing from the game. Not enough players played at the level we’re used to them playing. We were beaten by the better team and we’ve no excuses.

‘You can’t blame nerves. We only had two or three players on form. But we’ve all still to play for and one of the reasons we’ve done so well is the way we have responded to  setbacks. We’ve got a big week ahead but I’m confident we’ll do it.’

In contrast, David Flitcroft was elated by a ‘perfect team performance’ from his doughty fighters. ‘It’s been a special day because we had to cope with a build-up that was all about Hull’s promotion celebrations,’ said the Barnsley boss. ‘I’m absolutely delighted with my  players because they showed not just resilience and determination but a lot of quality, too.’

The game was extraordinarily  one-sided. Without prior knowledge, no one would have guessed which side were bidding to join the elite of English football and who were in danger of dropping into the third tier.

Flying start: Jacob Mellis puts the hosts into the lead after four minutes

Flying start: Jacob Mellis puts the hosts into the lead after four minutes to ease the nerves around Oakwell, for Tykes fans such as Dickie Bird (below)

All smiles: Dickie Bird
Championship table

Championship table

The 6,000 Hull fans who filled one end of Oakwell, hoping to create a carnival atmosphere as they partied their way into the Premier League, were reduced to stunned silence for almost the entire 90 minutes as their heroes struggled to mount any worthwhile attacks. The conditions, admittedly, were not easy as a hard-pitch and a swirling wind did not suit smooth, flowing football. Neither did the anxiety of the occasion.

Yet Barnsley managed to play with an efficient level of cohesion,  piecing together most of the  neat, passing moves and scoring  two well-taken goals into the  bargain.

From the start, Flitcroft’s men showed they were in the mood to spoil the party and were ahead after only four minutes. When Chris O’Grady steered a pass into the direction of Jacob Mellis, 15 yards to the right of goal, there seemed the probable prospect of the midfielder testing David Stockdale.

But the former Chelsea youngster struck a shot of such power that the Hull goalkeeper can barely have seen it as it flew into the net.

The ex-Stamford Bridge bad boy, drummed out of the London club after setting off a smoke bomb at the club’s training ground, will not have enjoyed a better moment in the game. 

An immediate response from George Boyd saw the Peterborough loanee’s lob over stranded  goalkeeper Luke Steele headed  out of the goalmouth by Tom Kennedy. It was never to be so good again for Hull.

Put through the wringer: Steve Bruce
Put through the wringer: Steve Bruce

Put through the wringer: With their destiny in their own hands, Steve Bruce has seen his side collect one point from a possible nine

The promotion hopefuls failed completely to get into any attacking rhythm. Time and again the  Barnsley players snapped into  tackles or won crucial challenges.

There was an anticipation after the break that Hull, fresh from an ear-bashing from Bruce, would turn up the heat, but it never happened.

Instead, Barnsley got stronger, added a second a goal and closed out the game with something to spare. Five minutes into the second half, O’Grady latched on to a loose ball  16 yards from goal and struck a powerful shot across Stockdale into the far corner.

While the visiting fans chanted ‘Brucie, Brucie, sort it’, the Hull manager, having brought on Jay Simpson for Boyd at half-time, sent on Nick Proschwitz in place of Matt Fryatt.

But despite launching a barrage of high balls into the Barnsley area, Hull could find no way through, leaving their supporters to wait.

Battling Barnsley go to Yorkshire rivals Huddersfield with a last-day chance to save themselves. On this evidence, their prospects look  better than those of Hull.



The comments below have not been moderated.

Hull City aspire to take on the big boys in the premier league,they cannot even beat the bottom teams in their own division,get real chokers.

Click to rate     Rating   13

Well done Reds. Now finish the job right next week.

Click to rate     Rating   9

Chokers. Get your act together, Bruce.

Click to rate     Rating   4

What a way to end the season, fantastic. But I have to back my boys in yellow to clinch 2nd spot. COYH !!

Click to rate     Rating   10

If you do not beat Cardiff next weekend, you are certain of Championship footie next season.

Click to rate     Rating   15

So what is the difference between a top side in the Championship and a side at the bottom. Looking at the points difference quite al lot, but bottom sides are beating those a the top on a regular basis.

Click to rate     Rating   10

Steve Bruce is a walking heart attack

Click to rate     Rating   12

Got to agree. It seems Watford want it more than Hull do.

Click to rate     Rating   34

Watford have no pressure, the team are playing well and without any fear. If they do not go up automatically, they will win the play off's. What a fantastic season we have had, win, lose or draw. What a Zolacoater ride.

Click to rate     Rating   31

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